Native History and Mashapaug


Native History and Mashapaug


In the 1930s, a gathering of several indigenous groups (Narragansett, Nip-muck, Wampanoag, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Misquamicut, Niantic) occurred at Mashapaug Pond. Why did they gather and what was the outcome?


Anya Ventura


An editorial in the Narragansett Dawn, a 30s periodical issued by Princess Red Wing of South County, ends on an exclamatory note: THE NARRAGANSETT TRIBE STILL EXISTS!

In the late 1700s, Mashapaug Pond was an Indian town. Villages grew up around rivers, lakes, and ponds, supplying the fresh water needed for cooking, bathing, fishing, and boating. Marine life thrived. The pond constituted the Southwest border of the original boundary of Indian land, tribal elder Tall Oak Weeden informed me, and has long been the location of choice for Indians moving to Rhode Island. At some point in the 1930s, a group of indigenous people gathered at Mashapaug Pond. The archivists, librarians, professors, and elders I have spoke to thus far have not known why. The Providence Journal and the Evening Bulletin have yielded no answers. And now, ironically on Columbus Day, when the doors of the libraries and historical societies are closed, that story still remains a mystery to me.

[See attached file for more information and bibliography]




Anya Ventura, “Native History and Mashapaug,” Reservoir of Memories, accessed September 23, 2020,